Migrant workers, families receiving compensation directly in their bank accountsThe new compensation payment arrangement has been a huge relief for the recipients, especially during the ongoing pandemic when travelling is difficult.
Many migrant workers and their families who are entitled to financial support from the government for death, injury or illnesses have lately been receiving the support without having to travel to Kathmandu.
As the beneficiaries have been provided with the option to submit applications for compensation at their respective local units or online, migrant workers who contracted diseases or got injured and the families of deceased workers are able to access financial support with less hassles than in the past.
The Foreign Employment Board, the government body responsible for the welfare of migrant workers including the distribution of financial support, has made arrangements allowing beneficiaries to apply for compensation either through their local units or online.
The arrangement has come as a respite to hundreds of families who earlier had to visit Kathmandu, where the board office is located, to apply for and collect the compensation.
According to Rajan Prasad Shrestha, executive director with the Board, in the current fiscal year, nearly 350 families have received their compensation directly in their bank accounts without physically visiting the office or collecting bank cheques.
“We have catered to about 35o beneficiaries who had applied for compensation through respective local units or the online system. They did not have to visit the office with all the documents,” Shrestha told the Post. “Whatever amounts they were entitled to were directly transferred into their bank accounts.”
With the fifth amendment to the Foreign Employment Rules, which said applications for claiming foreign employment-related compensations could be submitted at the local units concerned, the board made the arrangement accordingly. As part of decentralising the foreign-employment related services, the Board had written to all the 753 local units, requesting them to facilitate the compensation application process.
As per the new arrangement, an application submitted at the local unit should reach the Board’s office within seven days. Upon receiving an application, the local unit attests the documents and verifies the credentials of the compensation recipient, which could be the migrant workers themselves or their immediate family members, and forwards the application to the Board’s office in Kathmandu.
Upon receiving the application, the Board Secretariat in Kathmandu once again verifies all the documents and assesses whether the migrant worker or their family are eligible for the government compensation by contacting the Nepali mission in the labour destination countries concerned.
Besides, the Board has also started an online system for accepting the application from beneficiaries and providing compensation directly to their bank account.
“Just by entering the passport number of a migrant worker, all the details like whether the worker migrated after taking a labour permit or whether he/she had already received the government support can be accessed. If they have not received any support, only then the application process moves ahead,” said Shrestha. “Once all the documents, including a recommendation letter from the local unit verifying the beneficiary are uploaded online and approved by the Nepali mission abroad, the amount is transferred to the beneficiary’s bank account. The beneficiary is then notified of the deposit through a phone text message.”
Although the online system is still on trial, the Board has been keeping records of all the applications received either manually at its secretariat or through local units or by email.
“By processing all the applications online, we have managed a one-door channel for receiving application and distribution compensation. We prefer that beneficiaries do not have to visit the office,” said Shrestha. “If they can upload all the documents online or send an application through their local unit, the money can be deposited to their bank account.”
Families and relatives of deceased workers receive Rs700,000 from the government. The Board also provides financial support for the critically injured workers and covers treatment for as many as 15 critical diseases within one year of the worker’s return to the country or until the end of their contract.
The new compensation payment arrangement has been a huge relief for the recipients especially during the ongoing pandemic when travelling is difficult.
According to Shrestha, despite the pandemic and prohibitory orders since last year, the Board has been providing its services including ferrying the bodies of dead migrant workers to their home addresses, paying compensations and other financial support to the families.
“Even though the new application system was introduced before the pandemic, it has been extremely useful during the pandemic when there is a restriction on movement,” said Shrestha, adding, “Through this system, the possibility of embezzlement of the compensation by agents or anyone has decreased and also it has saved time, money and the hassle of visiting Kathmandu.”
The Board has also collected applications online for providing scholarships to nearly 2,000 children of migrant workers from 56 districts. The Board, however, continues to accept applications from those who visit its secretariat in Kathmandu.
“We are mulling over implementing the online application system in a full-fledged manner so that no one has to visit our office in person to receive our services.”